The politics of incentives

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Marc_G

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The buyback rate differential is only going to get wider as home solar grows simply because your excess watts are not worth as much when its not needed. Valuable electricity are the watts when the sun isn't shining and the wind is not blowing.
When I lived in places that split out the KWh based on peak demand times, it was always the daytime hours that were the most in demand, and most costly (thus, most valuable for buyback credits). That's when the AC is blowing full tilt while at the same time as business use is highest. So, while yes base production capacity is an important factor, don't discount daytime solar production, because it really can make a difference by reducing the need for plants to come online.
 

boatgeek

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When I lived in places that split out the KWh based on peak demand times, it was always the daytime hours that were the most in demand, and most costly (thus, most valuable for buyback credits). That's when the AC is blowing full tilt while at the same time as business use is highest. So, while yes base production capacity is an important factor, don't discount daytime solar production, because it really can make a difference by reducing the need for plants to come online.
Also previously addressed here by regional grid if you want graphs.
 

boatgeek

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If you want a full understanding of the law, reading statutes and regulations isn't enough. You also need to read federal court opinions interpreting those statutes and regulations for the full picture.

If you want to get into the weeds, an agency's advisory opinions/memos/whatever-they-want-to-call-it will give you an even more detailed understanding of what the law could be. But because these advisory pieces don't technically have the force of law and merely indicate an agency's inclinations for a given situation, you have to recognize that a new President or agency head (or a federal judge) could change those inclinations at any given time.

As if that's not complicated enough, there could be state laws or regulations that contradict the federal laws/regulations. While preemption means the federal law should rule supreme, that isn't always the case. For example, unless you do a case law search looking for decided AND pending cases, you can't know that whatever you just read isn't going to be overridden by a court case about preemption that's about to be decided.

^^^^^ This. Agencies use broad discretion in how they interrupt and enforce legislation. This broad discretion is frequently very political and subject to which party controls the Executive Branch as well as the courts. Witness the recent rulings by SCOTUS that went against the EPA for overstepping it’s regulatory duties.

OK, so this is some serious goalpost-moving. This discussion started out as a claim that fossil fuel companies receive no particular subsidies. Then, when I provided data that fossil fuel companies do, in fact, get subsidies, the claim shifted to "fossil fuel companies don't get subsidies any different than mining companies." On my showing that the regulations show that the subsidies are different for mining and fossil fuels*, the claim is now that I need to go and look through all of the court rulings and see what the courts have said about the rules, plus maybe all of the agency guidance as well. Frankly, that looks like arguing in bad faith. Maybe it's not intended that way, but that's sure how it appears from this seat.

If you think that court rulings and agency guidance disagree with anything I've said, by all means bring it up. I'm happy to look at evidence. There's been several posts that I've scrapped because the evidence didn't back up my argument. But don't expect me to go looking through every agency and court website to find the evidence you think might be there. If you think I'm wrong, show me why.

Unless there's a CPA in the house who wants to dispute this, I will posit that tax regulations are very carefully written to be exactly how they will be enforced. The IRS CFR sections are also written in an extremely reader-friendly way, particularly compared to the maritime rules that I'm familiar with. I am 100% sure that there are nuances and loopholes and details to exploit, but the overall statements of things like rates and the general categories of what can be deducted or not are fairly clear. Those details are important and why CPAs and tax lawyers exist, but you can get a sense of the overall picture fairly easily.

* And I will wholeheartedly agree that there are pluses and minuses, so figuring out which industry is actually favored by the tax law will take an accountant thoroughly versed in doing taxes for both kinds of companies.
 

mh9162013

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OK, so this is some serious goalpost-moving. This discussion started out as a claim that fossil fuel companies receive no particular subsidies. Then, when I provided data that fossil fuel companies do, in fact, get subsidies, the claim shifted to "fossil fuel companies don't get subsidies any different than mining companies." On my showing that the regulations show that the subsidies are different for mining and fossil fuels*, the claim is now that I need to go and look through all of the court rulings and see what the courts have said about the rules, plus maybe all of the agency guidance as well. Frankly, that looks like arguing in bad faith. Maybe it's not intended that way, but that's sure how it appears from this seat.

If you think that court rulings and agency guidance disagree with anything I've said, by all means bring it up. I'm happy to look at evidence. There's been several posts that I've scrapped because the evidence didn't back up my argument. But don't expect me to go looking through every agency and court website to find the evidence you think might be there. If you think I'm wrong, show me why.

Unless there's a CPA in the house who wants to dispute this, I will posit that tax regulations are very carefully written to be exactly how they will be enforced. The IRS CFR sections are also written in an extremely reader-friendly way, particularly compared to the maritime rules that I'm familiar with. I am 100% sure that there are nuances and loopholes and details to exploit, but the overall statements of things like rates and the general categories of what can be deducted or not are fairly clear. Those details are important and why CPAs and tax lawyers exist, but you can get a sense of the overall picture fairly easily.

* And I will wholeheartedly agree that there are pluses and minuses, so figuring out which industry is actually favored by the tax law will take an accountant thoroughly versed in doing taxes for both kinds of companies.
I'm not trying to move any goalposts. Just point out that merely reading a statute or regulation doesn't necessarily explain what the law really is or how a government program or agency will actually work.

The U.S. is a common law jurisdiction (for the most part), which means the law comes from court cases just as much as it comes from the statute/ordinance/regulation/rule/etc.
 

OverTheTop

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The buyback rate differential is only going to get wider as home solar grows simply because your excess watts are not worth as much when its not needed. Valuable electricity are the watts when the sun isn't shining and the wind is not blowing.
True, but it was getting to the point where they were buying my electricity and selling it for more than five times the cost. If that happens again I will likely stop exporting in protest.
 

jderimig

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True, but it was getting to the point where they were buying my electricity and selling it for more than five times the cost. If that happens again I will likely stop exporting in protest.
What they are selling is power on demand, regardless of weather, at any time of day and as much as you want up to the breaker of your service box. Your product is not that. Which is why they can and should mark it up. You are saving them some fuel, which that component you are probably getting.
 

OverTheTop

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Agreed. I am happy to pay for them being my battery, until batteries become more reliable and are worth buying. Marginal currently IMHO.

Couple them reselling feed-in for significant profits and the current market "competition" where there are many retailers all gaming the system to get the most money they can out of the consumers and driving prices up I think the concept of some sort of fairness needs to be brought in. How much is your electricity per kWh?
 

boatgeek

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What they are selling is power on demand, regardless of weather, at any time of day and as much as you want up to the breaker of your service box. Your product is not that. Which is why they can and should mark it up. You are saving them some fuel, which that component you are probably getting.
I think that one of the issues to think about here is whether electricity should be considered a commodity or a utility. You're looking at it from a commodity perspective--that the companies selling electricity should maximize their profits, presumably within some guidelines for reliability, etc. Another perspective is that electricity supply is a utility in the sense that it's a public good* to have *relatively* cheap electricity. I'm not advocating for utilities to lose money, or even be nonprofits (though I think that's not a bad idea), just that they shouldn't be making 50% profits in a year. Yes, that's an extreme number, but it's to illustrate my point.

In the US, utility prices are more heavily regulated, and there tend to be fewer options for pricing. One exception that made the news was the big Texas blackouts last year, where some people on less-regulated plans ran up thousands of dollars in electric bills in a few days.

* In the sense of encouraging economic growth, not hitting people with massive energy bills, etc. Likewise, having good roads, reliable water service, etc. promote the public good.

There's probably also better economic terms for these models than commodities vs. utilities, but these are the best ones that I could come up with on short notice.
 

Tyeeking

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I think that one of the issues to think about here is whether electricity should be considered a commodity or a utility.
It’s not an either or. Electricity is a commodity just like water, gold, wheat, cellular data, etc. The utility is an entity that produces and/or sells the commodity.
 

boatgeek

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It’s not an either or. Electricity is a commodity just like water, gold, wheat, cellular data, etc. The utility is an entity that produces and/or sells the commodity.
OK, those were probably bad choices of words. The root question is whether utility companies should be permitted to charge whatever the market will bear/whatever maximizes their profits, or should there be some kind of price limits since virtually all of us depend on grid electricity for a basic standard of living.
 

OverTheTop

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All our utilities used to be government owned and run here. They were sold off in the 80's for temporary profit to balance the books. Telecom, Gas and Fuel, Board of Works (water), Tramways, Vic Rail and State Electricity Commission are now all either loosly government controlled or totally privately owned. They said the price of the services would come down. They lied.

These instrumentalities were the source for most of the apprenticeships in the trades. With their demise there was a massive shortage of tradespeople a number of years later. Private companies showed little interest in that area.
 

smstachwick

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OK, those were probably bad choices of words. The root question is whether utility companies should be permitted to charge whatever the market will bear/whatever maximizes their profits, or should there be some kind of price limits since virtually all of us depend on grid electricity for a basic standard of living.
That brings up a more fundamental question: Should people exist to serve the markets, as they do now, or should markets serve the people?

I think my answer should be obvious by now.
 

smstachwick

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All our utilities used to be government owned and run here. They were sold off in the 80's for temporary profit to balance the books. Telecom, Gas and Fuel, Board of Works (water), Tramways, Vic Rail and State Electricity Commission are now all either loosly government controlled or totally privately owned. They said the price of the services would come down. They lied.

These instrumentalities were the source for most of the apprenticeships in the trades. With their demise there was a massive shortage of tradespeople a number of years later. Private companies showed little interest in that area.
Why spend so much money to train somebody new when you can just pluck one off the vine? Until the vine runs out, of course.

Short-sighted quarter-to-quarter consumerism is unstable and unsustainable.
 

Tyeeking

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That brings up a more fundamental question: Should people exist to serve the markets, as they do now, or should markets serve the people?

I think my answer should be obvious by now.
Can you provide an example in the US where “people exist to serve the markets”?
 

smstachwick

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Can you provide an example in the US where “people exist to serve the markets”?
I’m so glad you asked.

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I work for a small company providing of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services, working to build communication and advocacy skills in autistic people and the people in their support systems. Some of my adult clients received ABA services at a very young age, back when it was universally compliance-based and unethical. Parents were told the lie that “your child will never (x) without ABA” and many of them bought it.

The reality is that autistic people develop skills throughout their lives and shore up many of their previously underdeveloped areas. Many master interpersonal skills well enough to effectively be invisibly autistic, which contributes to the contradictory myth that “your child will grow out of being autisic”. It’s also why it’s so common for people to be diagnosed late in life, by which point they don’t meet diagnostic criteria. (Such kids were often labeled as stubborn, weird, stupid, defiant, [insert derogatory adjective here] for decades)

ABA mainly purports to provide a path to quicker mastery, or mastery at all, depending on what truth or lies the caregivers are told, but the compliance-based methods generate identifiable and clinically diagnosable anxiety issues. Some of my adult clients constantly ask whether they’re “being good” and confuse directives to engage in a calming activity for a punishment.

Some of them also previously had behaviors targeted for elimination that were not harmful but merely uncommon in the non-autistic population. Hand flapping, for example, is one that it often stamped out in such models when it actually serves vital sensory or motor functions.

How is this an example of an exploitative market? Well, ABA services are extremely labor intensive, creating a high demand for qualified professionals. As a result, the minimum criteria to become a Registered Behavioral Technician, or RBT, is only a high school diploma and 40 hours of training. Only 3 of these hours must be on eithics and only 1 must be on obtaining and maintaining proper supervision from Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). The BCBA credential allows full rights to practice independently but is only a Masters degree equivalent.

In case you can’t tell, these qualifications are pathetically low for somebody given such clinical responsibility, and they are dictated by the market.

The targeting of non-conforming but otherwise harmless and clinically insignificant behaviors was also borne about by perverse profit incentives in behavioral studies and clinical practice. Clients were subjected to interventions that they not only had no need for, but caused obvious psychological damage in the name of profit for the provider and for insurance companies.

Autistic people are also unemployed at a much higher rate than the population, something like 60-70%. This is much, much higher than the proportion of the autistic population who never learn skills sufficient to obtain employable qualifications, so what gives?

Much of that is due to the required interpersonal and leadership skills required to exploit the labor of autistic people being so much higher than the general population. Most people can tolerate a toxic boss (or coworkers or customers) for a while, but the widespread societal abuses perpetrated against autistic people mean that they require training, supervision, management, and leadership from competent people for a successful outcome, and competence is not as common in the world of business as you’d probably like to think. If the markets served the people, every autistic person who wanted employment they were qualified for would get it.

So would everyone else, to be fair. But we find our job security at the mercy of prevailing economic conditions (namely the balance of the top 1%’s bank accounts).

EDIT: To clarify, I work for a progressive provider that’s in tune with the experiences of autistic people in ABA. The manner of application is more gentle and the analysis is more thorough and thus valid more often. But it’s still an outlier, many other places still use the compliance based methods and they’re run by people who have no business working with such a vulnerable population.
 
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Tyeeking

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I’m so glad you asked.

View attachment 531559

I work for a small company providing of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services, working to build communication and advocacy skills in autistic people and the people in their support systems. Some of my adult clients received ABA services at a very young age, back when it was universally compliance-based and unethical. Parents were told the lie that “your child will never (x) without ABA” and many of them bought it.

The reality is that autistic people develop skills throughout their lives and shore up many of their previously underdeveloped areas. Many master interpersonal skills well enough to effectively be invisibly autistic, which contributes to the contradictory myth that “your child will grow out of being autisic”. It’s also why it’s so common for people to be diagnosed late in life, by which point they don’t meet diagnostic criteria. (Such kids were often labeled as stubborn, weird, stupid, defiant, [insert derogatory adjective here] for decades)

ABA mainly purports to provide a path to quicker mastery, or mastery at all, depending on what truth or lies the caregivers are told, but the compliance-based methods generate identifiable and clinically diagnosable anxiety issues. Some of my adult clients constantly ask whether they’re “being good” and confuse directives to engage in a calming activity for a punishment.

Some of them also previously had behaviors targeted for elimination that were not harmful but merely uncommon in the non-autistic population. Hand flapping, for example, is one that it often stamped out in such models when it actually serves vital sensory or motor functions.

How is this an example of an exploitative market? Well, ABA services are extremely labor intensive, creating a high demand for qualified professionals. As a result, the minimum criteria to become a Registered Behavioral Technician, or RBT, is only a high school diploma and 40 hours of training. Only 3 of these hours must be on eithics and only 1 must be on obtaining and maintaining proper supervision from Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). The BCBA credential allows full rights to practice independently but is only a Masters degree equivalent.

In case you can’t tell, these qualifications are pathetically low for somebody given such clinical responsibility, and they are dictated by the market.

The targeting of non-conforming but otherwise harmless and clinically insignificant behaviors was also borne about by perverse profit incentives in behavioral studies and clinical practice. Clients were subjected to interventions that they not only had no need for, but caused obvious psychological damage in the name of profit for the provider and for insurance companies.

Autistic people are also unemployed at a much higher rate than the population, something like 60-70%. This is much, much higher than the proportion of the autistic population who never learn skills sufficient to obtain employable qualifications, so what gives?

Much of that is due to the required interpersonal and leadership skills required to exploit the labor of autistic people being so much higher than the general population. Most people can tolerate a toxic boss (or coworkers or customers) for a while, but the widespread societal abuses perpetrated against autistic people mean that they require training, supervision, management, and leadership from competent people for a successful outcome, and competence is not as common in the world of business as you’d probably like to think. If the markets served the people, every autistic person who wanted employment they were qualified for would get it.

So would everyone else, to be fair. But we find our job security at the mercy of prevailing economic conditions (namely the balance of the top 1%’s bank accounts).
That’s a lot of ranting and I’m truly sorry that your working conditions are not up to your expectations but in your example nobody’s “existence” is based on “serving a market”. That would be tantamount to slavery.

BTW, job security being “at the mercy of prevailing economic conditions” is life. Other than a politician and/or bureaucrat who’s job security isn’t based to some degree on “economic conditions”. (It’s a rhetorical question).
 

smstachwick

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So close to getting it…

Also moving the goalposts. I named one, criteria met.

Further edit: This was my personal experience, BTW. I’m autistic myself and received compliance-based ABA in my youth, so it’s not merely a work experience. This was my life.

I won’t outright ask you not to discount it, but it’d be wise to hold yourself to a more stringent standard before deciding to do so.
 

Tyeeking

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So close to getting it…

Also moving the goalposts. I named one, criteria met.

Further edit: This was my personal experience, BTW. I’m autistic myself and received compliance-based ABA in my youth, so it’s not merely a work experience. This was my life.

I won’t outright ask you not to discount it, but it’d be wise to hold yourself to a more stringent standard before deciding to do so.
I get that you don’t like compliance based ABA and don’t particularly like your working conditions. As you said that’s your experience. But with that said there is still nobody that “exists” (your word) simply to serve that market or for that matter any market in the US. It’s hyperbole that in your example detracts from what are likely some very good observations on how that particular service could be improved.
 

boatgeek

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Can you provide an example in the US where “people exist to serve the markets”?
Retail employment is a fantastic example. I have a friend with 15 years of experience in retail, most of that working for a national shipping/paper products chain. He's an assistant manager, and the manager on duty on weekends. He lives in a medium sized city in Washington, not even in the top 20. He has been on the verge of or actually homeless for about 5 of those years. The standard for apartments is that rent shouldn't be more than 30% of your income. He literally cannot find a one-bedroom apartment within an hour's drive of work that he qualifies for. He is not a teenager. He has significant responsibility at work. And he can't qualify for rent in a third-tier city in Washington. That is an exploitative system where he is serving a market and the market isn't serving him.

If you want another example, check out how many full-time Walmart employees in the US qualify for food stamps. I'm picking on Walmart, but you can insert the national retailer of your choice.

Your next statement is probably goingto be that these people should all leave retail and go work for better wages. The easy response to that is that the entire retail sector depends on people working near-starvation wages. It's not just a few companies--it's pervasive. If you want to be able to buy groceries, you are depending on the retail workers being exploited.
 

Tyeeking

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Retail employment is a fantastic example. I have a friend with 15 years of experience in retail, most of that working for a national shipping/paper products chain. He's an assistant manager, and the manager on duty on weekends. He lives in a medium sized city in Washington, not even in the top 20. He has been on the verge of or actually homeless for about 5 of those years. The standard for apartments is that rent shouldn't be more than 30% of your income. He literally cannot find a one-bedroom apartment within an hour's drive of work that he qualifies for. He is not a teenager. He has significant responsibility at work. And he can't qualify for rent in a third-tier city in Washington. That is an exploitative system where he is serving a market and the market isn't serving him.

If you want another example, check out how many full-time Walmart employees in the US qualify for food stamps. I'm picking on Walmart, but you can insert the national retailer of your choice.

Your next statement is probably goingto be that these people should all leave retail and go work for better wages. The easy response to that is that the entire retail sector depends on people working near-starvation wages. It's not just a few companies--it's pervasive. If you want to be able to buy groceries, you are depending on the retail workers being exploited.
Those are not examples of people who “exist to serve markets”. They have free will. Their existence is not based on service to Walmart or whoever. It’s their choice not the reason for their existence.

The reason retail can pay so little is because their are so many low skilled people who choose to work in retail and then evidently choose to bitch about it.

Saying people “exist to serve markets”
Is a strong statement. It implies a form of slavery and using these examples cheapens those who in history truly were slaves.

Wow has this thread ever gotten off track. Don’t they all. LOL
 

smstachwick

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Those are not examples of people who “exist to serve markets”. They have free will. Their existence is not based on service to Walmart or whoever. It’s their choice not the reason for their existence.

The reason retail can pay so little is because their are so many low skilled people who choose to work in retail and then evidently choose to bitch about it.

Saying people “exist to serve markets”
Is a strong statement. It implies a form of slavery and using these examples cheapens those who in history truly were slaves.

Wow has this thread ever gotten off track. Don’t they all. LOL
Can you provide examples of how the market has served the people above itself, without incentives to do so?

(Back on track, see that?)
 

Tyeeking

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Can you provide examples of how the market has served the people above itself, without incentives to do so?

(Back on track, see that?)
Who ever claimed that markets serve people without an incentive to do so? Do you work for your employer without an incentive to do so?
 

smstachwick

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Who ever claimed that markets serve people without an incentive to do so? Do you work for your employer without an incentive to do so?
Fair is fair, sir. You challenged me to support my exploitation interpretation, I challenge you to support your service interpretation.

Unless you’re conceding?
 

Tyeeking

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Fair is fair, sir. You challenged me to support my exploitation interpretation, I challenge you to support your service interpretation.

Unless you’re conceding?
What “service interpretation” did I make?
 

boatgeek

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Those are not examples of people who “exist to serve markets”. They have free will. Their existence is not based on service to Walmart or whoever. It’s their choice not the reason for their existence.

The reason retail can pay so little is because their are so many low skilled people who choose to work in retail and then evidently choose to bitch about it.

Saying people “exist to serve markets”
Is a strong statement. It implies a form of slavery and using these examples cheapens those who in history truly were slaves.

Wow has this thread ever gotten off track. Don’t they all. LOL
A momentary tangent (we've had so many, why stop now?): Another friend of mine likes to say "People suck. Some persons are OK."

The retail industry doesn't depend on any particular person like my friend the assistant manager, but it does depend on people: around 15 million of them or ~5% of the US population. Due to the aftereffects of COVID and other macroeconomic trends, we have a very clear idea of what happens when people do exactly what you said they should do. Retail workers quit, pay rises, inflation rises. Then there's a great wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, then the system does exactly what the system is designed to do. The Fed raises interest rates to "cool the economy" and "tame inflation" by reducing the number of jobs available and the attractiveness of quitting retail to do something else. If everything works out just the way the system is designed, those retail workers *as a class of 5% of the population* won't have a choice but to stay in relatively low-paying retail work because there's no other work available for that many people and the economic system as a whole depends on 5% or more of the population working poverty wages. Yes, some individuals will move, but the vast majority won't be able to. That's why people are in service to the system--the system is designed to keep them in service jobs.

If you don't like the retail example, try insulin. A process for making insulin was discovered nearly a century ago and the patent is long expired. We know how to make it for around $20/vial. But retail cost is 10-30 times that because of monopoly pressures, some creative patent-leveraging, and other economic systems. The price on a drug that a large fraction of the population literally needs to survive is price gouged to the point that Type 1 Diabetes patients on average spend about 10% of the national median income out of pocket. All that so some shareholders get a nice uptick in prices. If that's not people serving markets, I'm not sure what is.

But maybe that's not enough for you. If you want a true example of servitude that parallels slavery, take a look at the prison labor system. 65% of the US prison population does some form of prison labor, so it's not an isolated issue. Prisoners are paid pennies per hour if anything at all, and many don't make enough to buy basic stuff like soap that should be supplied by the prison itself. Oh, and 75%+ of prisoners face punishment up to and including solitary confinement and denial of parole if they don't work. So yeah, involuntary servitude exists in this country. We just call it prison labor.
 

Tyeeking

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If you want a true example of servitude that parallels slavery, take a look at the prison labor system. 65% of the US prison population does some form of prison labor, so it's not an isolated issue. Prisoners are paid pennies per hour if anything at all, and many don't make enough to buy basic stuff like soap that should be supplied by the prison itself. Oh, and 75%+ of prisoners face punishment up to and including solitary confinement and denial of parole if they don't work. So yeah, involuntary servitude exists in this country. We just call it prison labor.
I would agree that forcing prisoners to work is wrong and a form of servitude. I would also say “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”. Callous yes but I personally don’t have a lot of compassion for those that prey on the weak in society.

As to the rest of society, free will exists and nobody has to “exist to serve a market”, including those that work at Walmart.
 
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smstachwick

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A momentary tangent (we've had so many, why stop now?): Another friend of mine likes to say "People suck. Some persons are OK."

The retail industry doesn't depend on any particular person like my friend the assistant manager, but it does depend on people: around 15 million of them or ~5% of the US population. Due to the aftereffects of COVID and other macroeconomic trends, we have a very clear idea of what happens when people do exactly what you said they should do. Retail workers quit, pay rises, inflation rises. Then there's a great wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, then the system does exactly what the system is designed to do. The Fed raises interest rates to "cool the economy" and "tame inflation" by reducing the number of jobs available and the attractiveness of quitting retail to do something else. If everything works out just the way the system is designed, those retail workers *as a class of 5% of the population* won't have a choice but to stay in relatively low-paying retail work because there's no other work available for that many people and the economic system as a whole depends on 5% or more of the population working poverty wages. Yes, some individuals will move, but the vast majority won't be able to. That's why people are in service to the system--the system is designed to keep them in service jobs.

If you don't like the retail example, try insulin. A process for making insulin was discovered nearly a century ago and the patent is long expired. We know how to make it for around $20/vial. But retail cost is 10-30 times that because of monopoly pressures, some creative patent-leveraging, and other economic systems. The price on a drug that a large fraction of the population literally needs to survive is price gouged to the point that Type 1 Diabetes patients on average spend about 10% of the national median income out of pocket. All that so some shareholders get a nice uptick in prices. If that's not people serving markets, I'm not sure what is.

But maybe that's not enough for you. If you want a true example of servitude that parallels slavery, take a look at the prison labor system. 65% of the US prison population does some form of prison labor, so it's not an isolated issue. Prisoners are paid pennies per hour if anything at all, and many don't make enough to buy basic stuff like soap that should be supplied by the prison itself. Oh, and 75%+ of prisoners face punishment up to and including solitary confinement and denial of parole if they don't work. So yeah, involuntary servitude exists in this country. We just call it prison labor.
The Thirteenth Amendment even makes a specific exception to the prohibition of slavery when it’s for criminal punishment.

Now we have a prison industry that has constantly lobbied for longer sentences and more charges that result in prison time.
 

KC3KNM

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I would agree that forcing prisoners to work is wrong and a form of servitude. I would also say “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”. Callous yes but I personally don’t have a lot of compassion for those that prey on the weak in society.

As to the rest of society, free will exists and nobody has to “exist to serve a market”, including those that work at Walmart.
So, if you grew up to less than ideal parents, had less than ideal schooling at one of our many underfunded school districts and were plopped out into the real world with no safeguards or family support and you're planning on exercising your free will to avoid wage slave jobs... how do you support yourself with no marketable skills? Go back in time and get born somewhere better? Move to a place with better jobs (hard to do when you're broke)? Some people don't really have a choice and the market takes full advantage.

It's really easy to assume everyone had as easy a go at it as we did. I used to carry a similar opinion to you on these things but as I've grown up, met people and experienced things outside of my own world it's pretty obvious it's not as easy as "just get a better job" for some people.
 

boatgeek

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I would agree that forcing prisoners to work is wrong and a form of servitude. I would also say “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”. Callous yes but I personally don’t have a lot of compassion for those that prey on the weak in society.

As to the rest of society, free will exists and nobody has to “exist to serve a market”, including those that work at Walmart.
Reader's Digest Condensed Version: "Slavery is wrong, but those people probably deserve it." If that's the way you want to point your moral compass, go right ahead, man.
 
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